V
Love and Death

Emily Patmore had been in poor health, and at times seriously ill, for some years, so that eventually the younger children had to be boarded out with friends, but it only became clear in her last year that there was no escape from her death by consumption. She died in the summer of 1862. The prolonged illness had given enough warnings and she had not only prepared calmly for the end, but made arrangements for the children, the youngest of whom was only two, and had even accustomed the older ones to the idea that they would in time have a new mother.

These six children were either at school or staying with friends at the time of her death. Their father, who was still working at the British Museum, went to lodgings, but contrived to see or write to them almost daily.

His grief was proportionate to his devotion and to the joy which had gone out of his life, yet it is characteristic of him that, lonely and unhappy though he was, he consoled himself not by laments, nor by the blankness of melancholy, but by recapitulating and living over again the joys which he and Emily Patmore had shared together. He even went back to Hastings, to the place where they had spent their honeymoon, a return which, he told his eldest daughter, made him both very happy and very sad. But he achieved that happiness which comes from facing grief and is denied those who avoid sadness at all cost. One of his later sayings

-62-

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Coventry Patmore
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • I - Extravagant Contradictions 1
  • II - Father of the Man 10
  • III - Before the Angel 25
  • IV - Verse at Home 47
  • V - Love and Death 62
  • VI - Travel to Rome 80
  • VII - Second Spring 96
  • VIII - Lourdes and Virginity 122
  • IX - The Patriarch 135
  • X - The Anti-Clerical 151
  • XI - Root and Flower 172
  • XII - The Independent 198
  • Note on Sources 207
  • Index 209
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